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Howard A. Bais

Company A-1

27 Apr 1938 - 27 Jan 1979

Place of Death: Atlanta,GA

Interred in Union Cemetery, Sayville, NY


Class Memorial Pages\A-1 Howie Bais.pdf

Assembly/Taps Memorial Article:

Cullum No. 23710-1961
January 27, 1979
Died in Atlanta,GA
interred in Union Cemetery, Sayville, NY

Howard Allen “Howie” Bais was born in West Sayville, Suffolk County, New York on April 27, 1938. He was the son of Peter Bais and Pietronella “Elizabeth” Verschuure. In 1940, Howard, age 1, was living on Brook Street, Islip, NY, in the home of his parents, with his sister, Beatrice, age 5. His father made his living as a fisherman. Howard was a 1956 graduate of Sayville High School. His family, of Portuguese ancestry, was very proud of his acceptance and success at West Point.

Howie, as he was known, worked hard at academics and the military training. His roommates recall him as a quiet, easy going individual. He was a cadet color sergeant during his senior year and active in the Debate Council and Forum as well as the Portuguese Language, Handball, Pistol, Sailing and Camera clubs.

He entered the Air Force upon graduation and served with the 577th Strategic Missile Squadron, Strategic Air Command (SAC), which was an Atlas F intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) squadron based at Altus Air Force Base, OK. A number of his classmates served with him there: Bob Yavis, Jim Chase, and Ed Barry. As junior officers they served as missile combat crew deputy commanders, which involved 30-hour shifts, 24 hours of those in a secure underground missile launch control center (MLCC), trained to launch an Atlas F ICBM with a nuclear warhead, which was also located in an underground silo about 80 feet from the MLCC. The combat crew members were known in those days as the ‘Silent Silo Sitters of the Sixties.”

Howie and Ed Barry were roommates at Altus Air Force Base. Ed related a story about Howie’s knowledge of the Bible. One day a couple of Jehovah Witnesses knocked on their apartment door, and, while Ed said “No,” Howie said let them in and then nicely challenged their interpretation of the Bible by telling them their Bible quotes were taken out of context. Howie then cited his view of the Bible’s biblical message that he felt the Jehovah Witnesses were misinterpreting.

Howie was part of the high level of readiness our military forces were at and maintained during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 while pulling his combat crew alert shifts.

Howie resigned from the Air Force in 1964. Very bright, Howie just about aced the entry examination for entry into Columbia University, where he completed his master’s degree. Howie was not married. He worked in real estate. He was a resident of Atlanta, GA for 13 years. Howie was the manager of a Majik Market convenience store in Atlanta where he was, tragically, shot and killed on January 27, 1979. He was found behind the counter by a delivery man. The police were notified. It was reported that no money was removed from the cash register, and there was no sign of a struggle. Police ruled out robbery as a main motive for Bais’s death, and though no suspects were reported, it is believed that Howie was murdered by an acquaintance. He was shot in the lower back with a .22 caliber gun. Classmate Jerry Seibert, who was Howie’s roommate at West Point for nearly three years, tried to find further information about his murder but was unsuccessful.

It was perhaps best said by a classmate in the Class of 1961 West Point yearbook, the Howitzer, of Howie, “Throughout four years of cadet life, Howie has succeeded in winning the friendships of those around him. His humor and even temperament have been outstanding qualities which will aid him to go far in life. There is no better man than Howie to call your friend and associate.” May he Rest in Peace.

— Classmates Rod Cameron, Ed Barry, Paul Palmer, and Bill Williamson